Technical faults are the most common cause for complaints in the telecoms sector
In a six month period between July and December 2013, the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) received 147 complaints and 150 enquiries.
In a report published recently on developments on the consumer front, the MCA highlights that the most common type of complaint related to the repair of intermittent and temporary faults to TV, internet and fixed telephony services. There is a range of factors that could lead to such faults, including damages to the service provider’s infrastructure, damages to the residence’s internal wiring or damages to the customer premises equipment. The Authority deals with such cases by monitoring the actions undertaken by the service provider to ensure that faults are repaired at the earliest possible. In those cases where it was evident that the fault was not caused by third parties, subscribers were provided with the applicable compensation/refunds as stated in their service contract.
A number of complaints were also received regarding termination of a service/s. The MCA reviewed measures undertaken by service providers with a view to improving and rendering the procedure for termination more transparent and efficient. Where necessary the Authority intervened and has reached an agreement with the relevant service provider to modify its termination process. The MCA is cognisant of the fact that the electronic communications sector is dynamic in nature and that end-users’ needs and necessities change and vary accordingly. For this reason, the MCA will keep monitoring these procedures and will be liaising with other competent Authorities to ensure that these are reasonable and efficient.
The Authority also received a number of complaints/queries related to practices adopted by service providers in the sectors regulated by MCA over which the MCA has no legal power to intervene. The majority of these cases related to unsolicited calls and unfair commercial practices. The Authority referred complainants to the competent Authorities.
The report goes beyond highlighting the nature and status of the complaints and enquiries received. It also documents other regulatory developments such as the reduced roaming tariffs (when travelling within an EU country) that became applicable as from the 1st of July 2013, whereby the cost for making a call while roaming in an EU country dropped from 35c3 to 29c2 (incl. taxes) whilst the cost for receiving a call while roaming in an EU country was reduced from €9c7 to €8c5 (inc taxes). When roaming in an EU country sending an SMS now costs no more than €9c7 (including taxes) and data usage is charged at a maximum rate of 54c7 per megabyte.
Another aspect covered by the report relates to a recent decision adopted by the Authority on itemised billing. In addition to the regular standard bill, which is received by post-paid telephony subscribers on a periodic basis, subscribers may also request access to an itemised bill in order to monitor and control their usage more effectively. Subscribers may choose between two types of itemised bills; the first is the basic itemised bill, which normally provides a summary of the different types of calls made (international calls, calls to same network, etc) and the total costs incurred for each category of calls. The second is a detailed itemised bill, which provides information on each transaction made by the subscriber, such as each voice call, SMS, MMS and data used by the subscriber. The MCA’s decision specifies the content that both types of itemised bills must contain, as well as the formats in which these bills can be accessed by subscribers should they require such information. This decision comes into force on 1st April 2014.
The full report is available on MCA’s website http://www.mca.org.mt/consumer/reports/consumer-bi-annual-report-july-de....